September 7, 1936 (a Monday)

Benjamin, the last known Thylacine (1933)

On this date, the last known Thylacine, commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger or Tasmanian Wolf, died in captivity at Hobart Zoo, Tasmania, as a result of neglect. The animal, named Benjamin, was locked out of its sheltered sleeping quarters and exposed to freezing temperatures at night.

The Thylacine was the largest known carnivorous marsupial mammal of modern times. Like the tigers and wolves of the Northern Hemisphere, the Thylacine was an apex predator. As a marsupial, it was not closely related to these placental mammals, but because of convergent evolution it displayed the same general form and adaptations. Its closest living relative is thought to have been either the Tasmanian Devil or Numbat. Interestingly, the Thylacine was one of only two marsupials to have a pouch in both sexes (the other being the Water Opossum). The male Thylacine had a pouch that acted as a protective sheath, protecting the male’s external reproductive organs while running through thick brush.

Thylacinus in Washington D.C. National Zoo, c. 1906.

Virtually wiped out in the wild due to constant hunting (they were thought to be a threat to sheep and other small farm animals) and the encroachment of humans on their already limited habitat, the Thylacine was finally recognized as being in danger of becoming extinct in 1936, but much too late. There have been no confirmed sightings in over 70 years.  It was the last extant member of its genus, Thylacinus, although several related species have been found in the fossil record dating back to the early Miocene.

Advertisements

2 responses to “September 7, 1936 (a Monday)

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review | Professor Olsen @ Large

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s